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View Diary: How Same-Sex Marriage Would Have Resolved a $22,222.22 Moral Dilemma (182 comments)

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  •  Have to admit I'm surprised by the reaction (11+ / 0-)

    to this diary.  I thought it was pretty clear that the diarist is being ironical, and its point was to criticize the injustice and flippant attitude toward same-sex relationships.  The last two paragraphs just underscore how ridiculous family law can be even under the best of circumstances, much less when people are left without legal recourse.

    I understand that irony is not the easiest thing to get across on the intertubes, but in a case like this, where the thesis is mostly right out front, I'm finding the negative assessments a little confusing.  

    If I'm wrong, and the diarist really did intend to write a diary about keeping someone else's money and flippantly dismissing same-sex relationships (strange as that would be, considering), I'll let the diarist clarify that... But I'm not seeing it here, and certainly not in the way the material is presented.  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:13:44 AM PST

    •  He did exactly that... he kept the money... (4+ / 0-)

      See his comment above.  

      The story is true (0+ / 0-)

      The comment made above by FriendlyNeighbor is a pretty good characterization of my essay.

      I welcome any literary criticisms you wish to make, for there is always room for improvement.  As for the moral criticisms, while there is even more room for improvement in that sphere, the chance of my actually making any such improvements is, I regret to say, remote.

      This is a disgusting diary from a morally bankrupt creep.

      Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

      by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:35:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the comment by FrendlyNeighbor (4+ / 0-)

        argued that that whole section at the end was rhetorical rather than literal.  That's how I read it, too, and the diarist apparently agrees.

        At this point maybe it'd be better for the diarist to clarify, but I sincerely think we've overshooting on this one.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The diarist flatly states that "The story is true" (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skip945, Rieux, lostboyjim, cai

          so I see no reason to interpret the concluding paragraphs as being "rhetorical rather than literal."

          The diarist describes taking advantage of discriminatory laws to obtain a significant sum of money that was supposed to go to the partner of a distant relative, and is flippant about the moral implications of doing so. I find the diarist's actions reprehensible, and I'm surprised that so many people appear to be treating this tale as a mere thought experiment.

          •  I don't understand why you're putting all your (4+ / 0-)

            interpretive eggs in that first basket and none in the second:

            The comment made above by FriendlyNeighbor is a pretty good characterization of my essay.
            The story may be true on exposition - i.e. how and why the money got divided in the first place - and rhetorical in its ending - i.e. the moral choice was so obviously clear that the last two paragraphs, as FriendlyNeighbor argued and the diarist agreed, are purely rhetorical.  This is a diary about the problems that same-sex couples face when it comes to legal recognition.  It's possible that the diarist wrote a few hundred words on the issue only to add a ridiculous final paragraph that negates the entire point of it, but somehow I think my reading of the story as intentionally ironical is a bit more coherent?

            Like I said above, irony doesn't always translate well on the internet.  Lord knows I've tried to defend more opaque diaries than this over the years, because I think good irony deserves its place even when the readership misses it.  Heck, I wrote a pretty contentious diary on the subject years ago, when people were canceling their New Yorker subscriptions because of the brilliant Obamas-as-terrorists cartoon, which I still think was one of their boldest and funniest covers.

            Or I could be wrong about this diary, and misreading it entirely.  I just don't see enough evidence to convince me of that yet, and the diarist's few interactions here (note the recs, too) only convince me further that I'm on the right track.  If not, I'll happily pull my support.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:42:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pico, lostboyjim, cai, kyril

              given the diarist's latest comment, it would appear that your interpretation of the diary is correct, despite the statement (s)he previously provided, when specifically asked (and for the very purpose of determining whether (s)he was serious about stealing money from a lesbian widow), that it was "true." Upon further review, that statement appears to have been a convenient and inflammatory half-truth of its own.

              It's still an execrable diary. I hope you're able to see (it would appear that the diarist isn't) that this is a notably awful subject for an "ironic" joke. Yes, every doofus and his uncle thinks they're Jonathan Swift, but I'd invite you to consider the basic differences between (1) eating Irish babies and (2) using homophobic American legal institutions to brutalize GLBTs.

              My HR stays.

              •  We'll just have to disagree. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus, mrkvica, Purple Priestess

                And I think you're underestimating the extent to which Swift was considered offensive in his own day.  300 years' distance from the argument will do that.

                But on that note, I'm going to bow out of the comments here.  I've said my piece - plus I have a taste for bitter irony, so I might be more well-disposed toward it than others - and I don't want to prolong arguments with users I respect otherwise, so...  

                Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:14:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Okay. (4+ / 0-)
                  And I think you're underestimating the extent to which Swift was considered offensive in his own day.
                  I don't think I am, largely because the reasons Swift's essay was allegedly offensive bear little to no resemblance to the reasons this one is.

                  My point is simply that eating babies is self-evidently absurd; Swift's essay is very obviously facetious, and no one could seriously have thought otherwise. (There's a famous U.S. Supreme Court decision based on much the same concept.)

                  The original post here has no such defense. There absolutely are people in this country, indeed millions of them (such as Lisa Miller and her accomplices), who would be all too happy to do much worse than deprive a grieving GLBT survivor of a bequest from their deceased partner. This makes the nauseating position claimed by the OP narrator all too plausible and not at all clearly "ironic" or satirical at all. Which led to commenters on this thread taking it at face value—both attacking it and (thanks a lot, diarist) defending it from criticism. (How many of Swift's contemporaries defended "A Modest Proposal" by arguing that infantiphagia was "a moral issue for Swift, but not the point of the" essay?)

                  Then, pressed on the very point of the accuracy of the narrative, the diarist here declared that "the story is true" while gesturing vaguely at a commenter who had suggested that it may be partially "ironic." This was, predictably, very unhelpful.

                  I just don't think explosive political issues like this one deserve "ironic" yuk-yuk joking, backed up by ambiguous possibly-winking references to the "tru[th]" of an offensive story. Such behavior seems to me seriously disrespectful to the millions of people who are on the business end of tactics that are not at all different from the ones the diarist, apparently (though entirely ambiguously) facetiously, admitted to conducting.

        •  You are right (6+ / 0-)

          The point of my story was to provide a real life example of the need for same-sex marriage, regarding which the existence of a will was no substitute.  I included my own shameless part in the drama in hopes of providing some amusement as well.  Clearly, not everyone is amused.  But if the story, taken in its entirety, shows the need for same-sex marriage, the essay has not been a complete loss.

          You are also right about irony.  Apparently it is not to everyone’s taste, and this is not the first time I have paid the price of some hide-ratings for indulging in it.

          •  Clearly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lost and Found

            Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

            by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:42:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Great. (5+ / 0-)

            Aren't you one fabulous fucking martyr. Let us all grieve the blood you have sorrowfully shed for the great and glorious Irony.

            You aren't Jonathan Swift, pal. If you decide to get a rise out of well-meaning people by posing as a homophobic shakedown artist and then declaring, when questioned, that "The story is true," you're in no position to whine when you get hide-rated.

            But if the story, taken in its entirety, shows the need for same-sex marriage....
            It doesn't. Its effect has been to stir up needless shit among people who take the equal protection of the law somewhat more seriously than you evidently do.

            Real people's lives depend on marriage equality. It is not the proper subject for your ugly shits-and-giggles games.

          •  If it walks like a duck (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lostboyjim, cai, AllisonInSeattle

            If it walks like a thief, and acts like a thief, and smells like a thief....

            It's a thief... irony or not.

            Keeping the money is no better than being a thief.

            Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

            by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:56:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, now I'm once again unclear (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai, AllisonInSeattle

            as to whether your part in the story happened or not.

            FriendlyNeighbor's comment, which you said is accurate, suggests that you made up your own part in the story for the sake of a dramatic flourish.  Is that how you understood the comment when you said it was accurate?

            •  Sorry for the confusion (1+ / 2-)
              Recommended by:
              Rieux
              Hidden by:
              Lost and Found, cai

              My part in the story was true as well.  It did occur to me that my cousin’s husband was entitled to the share my cousin would have gotten had she not died; and it likewise occurred to me that Caroline’s moral claim to the money was stronger than his.  Only the part at the very end, where I stated that I was morally conflicted about the money, was disingenuous.  In other words, I kept the money.

              •  Right, then. (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rieux, Lost and Found, cai, madhaus, kyril

                Seriously considering an HR for that disingenuousness, which was essentially jerking around your readers on the whole point of the piece.

              •  Sickening. (5+ / 0-)
                In other words, I kept the money.
                Oh, so that's funny, huh?

                The savage abuse of gay, lesbian, and transgendered people in this country is not a joke, asshole.

                Why don't you call up Janet Jenkins and tell her this "ironic" knee-slapper of yours about using the law to steal things from a lesbian you've never met? I'm sure she has a terrific sense of humor when it comes to that topic.

              •  How's this for irony... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, Cthulhu

                Fuck you!
                and the rest of your "family" for taking her money away from her.

                You are a worthless piece of shit.

                Your "diary" should not be in Community Spotlight, it should be HR'd into oblivion.

                You disgust me.

                I even have more disgust for you now since you clearly do not regret keeping the money... using my fight to be an equal part of society to assuage your guilt pisses me off to no end...  

                And just to be clear.... FUCK YOU.

                Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

                by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:15:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                  What the diarist is now saying is that (s)he didn't keep the money. Presumably (s)he did give it to Caroline. The idea—which (s)he has been entirely coy and snarky about, because it's so much fun to play hard-to-get with reality when it comes to supposed brutality directed at GLBTs—is that all the stuff in the initial diary about the "moral conundrum" of what to do with the money was "ironic." It was an attempt to be "literary." It never actually happened.

                  The diarist is keeping the charade up now (such as in the comment you're replying to—"In other words, I kept the money") because (s)he thinks it's funny. Apparently pissing off GLBTs, who have to put up in real life with the very shit (s)he thinks it's a scream to joke about, is just a barrel of laughs.

                  I can't disagree with your anger at this asshole, but I don't think (s)he's done the particular asshole thing that you believe (s)he has. (S)he didn't steal money from Caroline; (s)he merely treated the abuse of Caroline, and that of millions of others of us, as a fabulous subject for a sneering joke. A joke (s)he refuses to give up on, because our indignation at his/her apparent unapologetic homophobia is apparently so funny.

              •  Recc'd (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril

                because I think it's important for this thread-let (as opposed to the diary at large) to be unhidden. Lost and Found's downthread citation to this diarist's previous (and more overtly hateful) diary ought to be visible to lurkers, I think.

          •  You were HR not for irony, but for theft. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skip945, Lost and Found, kyril

            You are a despicable person if your own account of yourself is true.  It has nothing to do with "tone".

            © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

            by cai on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:19:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Note (4+ / 0-)

      this comment, from the diarist. (S)he's maintaining that the story is flat-out true.

      I think one has to read a whole lot into this narrative to find it "ironical," but anyway the person who wrote it says it isn't.

      •  Note my comment just above (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        that in the same breath, the diarist agrees with FriendlyNeighbor that the ending is entirely rhetorical.   That's how I read it: I thought it was obvious, given that the diary's thesis is directly out front.

        But I've PM'd the diarist to (hopefully?) clarify this point.  I sincerely didn't think to read the ending of this diary literally, and if the comments section here is any indication, nor did most readers.  This reaction has totally taken me by surprise.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:17:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you're right, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai, kyril

          the diarist has done an overwhelmingly poor job of explaining how this "true story" actually ended. Even if FriendlyNeighbor's "[t]he part about the 'moral dilemma' was a flourish" actually means "the diarist gave Caroline the money," it's about the most ambiguous way to state that (supposed) fact imaginable.

          On the one hand we have the diarist explicitly stating (1)

          As I could not resolve the question as to who was more deserving, my cousin’s husband or Caroline, I decided to keep the $22,222.22 until such time as my conscience should guide me to do the right thing.  ... [T]he issue remains unresolved to this day.
          and (2)
          The story is true[.]

          [....] As for the moral criticisms, while there is even more room for improvement in that sphere, the chance of my actually making any such improvements is, I regret to say, remote.

          Meanwhile, on the other hand, we have an ambiguous notion from a different commenter about a Twain-ish literary "flourish"—and then the diarist's endorsement of that idea, whatever the hell it means.

          I just don't think the balance of the evidence the diarist has provided justifies any serious question about what (s)he's saying happened here. If Caroline did get the money—or if the whole story is fiction—the diarist has repeatedly conveyed precisely the opposite.

      •  Immediately above this comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        the diarist writes that it is ironical.

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them"

        by ItsJessMe on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:44:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not "ironical" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found, cai, kyril

          it's sociopathic.

          Only the part at the very end, where I stated that I was morally conflicted about the money, was disingenuous.  In other words, I kept the money.
          That's not irony... that's disgusting.

          Radical Activist Homosexual Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

          by skip945 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:22:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ech. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai

            No, that assertion is "ironical" too. (Sneeringly sarcastic, as well.) The diarist is dicking us around.

            This asshole just thinks it's hilarious to get a rise out of people who give a shit about abuse of GLBTs and don't appreciate that all-too-real phenomenon being (incompetently) joked about.

            One has to read between the lines, but this person (1) gave the money to Caroline (to the extent that this story has any reality to it at all) and (2) thinks that his/her literary pretensions and/or martyrdom on the altar of Valuable Literary Irony are more important than making the pro-GLBT point (s)he supposedly was making in the diary.

            A diarist who actually gave a shit about the Carolines of the world would have responded to this comment with something like this:

            Sorry—I was trying to use some literary irony at the end of the diary; I guess that didn't come across to several readers. The story is true, except that in real life I actually did give the money to Caroline without any serious "moral conundrum" about it.

            I was never really conflicted; I gave the money to Caroline; and no one else in a similar situation (including my surviving cousin) should ever act any differently. I'll revise the diary to make my feelings on that point more clear. Sorry if my desire to be a latter-day Mark Twain/Jonathan Swift got in the way of the message I was trying to convey.

            Instead, the diarist opted for coy half-truths, "O Woe is Me: I Suffer HRs for the Sake of Upholding Irony" martyrdom, and general dickishness at the expense of GLBTs. What an asshole.

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